Saturday, August 19, 2017

2017089 Program Materials

DOE 2018 BUDGET TACKLED--House members ask officials of the Department of Energy (DoE) and its attached agencies to address energy-related issues and concerns of their constituents during the deliberation on the proposed 2018 budget of the DoE, conducted by the House committee on appropriations chaired by Davao City First District Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (extreme right). Photo shows Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso (center, upper left photo) stressing a point while Reps. Mark Go of Baguio City (right) and Gil Acosta of Palawan (left) look on. Also in photo are Reps. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque (second from right), chairman of the House committee on energy, and Harry Roque of KABAYAN party-list (standing). DoE officials led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi (right, lower left photo) are seeking a budget of P2,657,918,000 for next year, which is five  percent or P1.33 million higher than its 2017 budget of 2,659,253,000.

House deliberates on DOE 2018 budget

The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) on Thursday deliberated on the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its attached agencies which include the National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), and National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).

Energy officials led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi requested a budget of P2,659,253,000, which is five percent  or P1.33 million higher than the DOE’s current 2017 allocation of P2,657,918,000.

In his opening statement during the hearing presided by committee vice chairman Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City), Cusi said the DOE’s budget will be used in delivering services to the Filipino people and in carrying out its mandate as provided by various laws such as the DOE Act, Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), Renewable Energy Law, Oil Deregulation Law, and Oil Exploration and Development Act.

“Our budget is a reflection of the energy sector’s alignment with the (Duterte) administration’s call for inclusive growth under ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040,” Cusi said.

“We look forward to your support in providing much-needed resources in ensuring a resilient energy sector which empowers the Filipino through relevant information under our ‘E-Power Mo: E-Safety Mo, E-Secure Mo,  E-Diskarte Mo’ campaign,” Cusi said.

In his presentation, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the DOE’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 will be used to fund operations amounting to P1.87 billion, support for operations at P449 million, and general administration and support at P392 million.

He said the DOE’s legislative agenda and policy advocacies will focus on the amendment of retail rules for liquid fuels, passage of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas  bill, and joint administrative order for the distribution and transportation of LPG cylinders, among others.

House members took turns raising various national and local issues and concerns that fall under the jurisdiction of the DOE.

Rep. Tom Villarin (Party-list, AKBAYAN) raised the issue of the country’s ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international treaty designed to protect people’s health and the environment from the dreadful effect of mercury, of which the country is a signatory.

He appealed to Cusi to expedite the DOE’s concurrence with the convention so the Philippines can complete its adherence to the said treaty, which has already been ratified by at least 50 countries.

Villarin also highlighted the issue of the promotion of renewable energy, particularly the households taking the lead role in the installation of solar rooftop panels.

“Mobilizing household-based participation for renewable energy can help reduce the cost of electricity in the country,” Villarin stressed.

Rep. Rosanna Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija) expressed dismay over the small budget of the DOE, saying it is a disservice to the country.

She said the DOE should have a bigger budget.

On another note, she suggested to the DOE to categorize energy-generating plants, like hydro, bunker, and others, and provide ceiling in their cost  to ensure that no one among these power plants make a huge amount of money at the expense of the consumers.

She asked the agency to further study her proposal.

Rep. Harry Roque (Party-list, AKBAYAN) raised the issue on the entitlement of the province of Palawan on the revenues derived from Malampaya funds.

He sought clarification from energy officials on the Commission on Audit (COA) report that P25 billion of the Malampaya fund remains unaccounted for.

Roque expressed concern that when and if there is a final judgment or compromise agreement on the Malampaya fund case, there will be no more funds available.

DOE officials responded that the agency has already been cleared by COA on the said P25 billion report and that the money has been accounted for.

Roque also cited the amount of energy being produced by sugarcane-producing facilities in Negros Occidental, and asked the DOE to look into the possibility of allowing Negros province to transfer energy to its neighboring province of Cebu, which desperately needs energy.

Rep. Julieta Cortuna (Party-list, A-TEACHER) asked the DOE to fast-track the electrification of barangays and sitios, especially those in the island-provinces.

She expressed regret that the island-provinces in the country, which are rich in tourism potential, could not be developed due to lack of energy or electricity.

Cortuna also urged the DOE to provide support for inventors of energy-producing technologies.

Rep. Vicente Veloso (3rd District, Leyte) urged the DoE to help the province of Leyte in enticing investors to contribute in energy development.

Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan) appealed to energy officials to help her district in addressing the problems of farm irrigation, high cost of electricity, and flooding, as it is the host district of San Roque Dam, the biggest dam in the world and one of the main sources of energy for the entire country.

DILG 2018 BUDGET DEFENDED--The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) continued its hearing Thursday on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 2018 proposed budget of P170.733 billion after Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo (District, Lanao del Norte) withdrew his motion to defer the briefing pending the attendance of DILG Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy and Philippine National Police Chief Director-General Ronald dela Rosa. DILG Undersecretary Austere Panadero explained to Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (1st District, Ilocos Norte) and the committee that Cuy and Dela Rosa could not attend the budget hearing as they accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte in Ozamiz City. Bureau of Fire Protection Acting Chief Leonard Bañago, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Director Serafin Barreto and the rest of the DILG family listened while Panadero made the explanation.  Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya), vice chair of the panel, presided over the briefing.

House deliberates on DOE 2018 budget

The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) on Thursday deliberated on the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its attached agencies which include the National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), and National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).

Energy officials led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi requested a budget of P2,659,253,000, which is five percent  or P1.33 million higher than the DOE’s current 2017 allocation of P2,657,918,000.

In his opening statement during the hearing presided by committee vice chairman Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City), Cusi said the DOE’s budget will be used in delivering services to the Filipino people and in carrying out its mandate as provided by various laws such as the DOE Act, Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), Renewable Energy Law, Oil Deregulation Law, and Oil Exploration and Development Act.

“Our budget is a reflection of the energy sector’s alignment with the (Duterte) administration’s call for inclusive growth under ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040,” Cusi said.

“We look forward to your support in providing much-needed resources in ensuring a resilient energy sector which empowers the Filipino through relevant information under our ‘E-Power Mo: E-Safety Mo, E-Secure Mo,  E-Diskarte Mo’ campaign,” Cusi said.

In his presentation, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the DOE’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 will be used to fund operations amounting to P1.87 billion, support for operations at P449 million, and general administration and support at P392 million.

He said the DOE’s legislative agenda and policy advocacies will focus on the amendment of retail rules for liquid fuels, passage of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas  bill, and joint administrative order for the distribution and transportation of LPG cylinders, among others.

House members took turns raising various national and local issues and concerns that fall under the jurisdiction of the DOE.

Rep. Tom Villarin (Party-list, AKBAYAN) raised the issue of the country’s ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international treaty designed to protect people’s health and the environment from the dreadful effect of mercury, of which the country is a signatory.

He appealed to Cusi to expedite the DOE’s concurrence with the convention so the Philippines can complete its adherence to the said treaty, which has already been ratified by at least 50 countries.

Villarin also highlighted the issue of the promotion of renewable energy, particularly the households taking the lead role in the installation of solar rooftop panels.

“Mobilizing household-based participation for renewable energy can help reduce the cost of electricity in the country,” Villarin stressed.

Rep. Rosanna Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija) expressed dismay over the small budget of the DOE, saying it is a disservice to the country.

She said the DOE should have a bigger budget.

On another note, she suggested to the DOE to categorize energy-generating plants, like hydro, bunker, and others, and provide ceiling in their cost  to ensure that no one among these power plants make a huge amount of money at the expense of the consumers.

She asked the agency to further study her proposal.

Rep. Harry Roque (Party-list, AKBAYAN) raised the issue on the entitlement of the province of Palawan on the revenues derived from Malampaya funds.

He sought clarification from energy officials on the Commission on Audit (COA) report that P25 billion of the Malampaya fund remains unaccounted for.

Roque expressed concern that when and if there is a final judgment or compromise agreement on the Malampaya fund case, there will be no more funds available.

DOE officials responded that the agency has already been cleared by COA on the said P25 billion report and that the money has been accounted for.

Roque also cited the amount of energy being produced by sugarcane-producing facilities in Negros Occidental, and asked the DOE to look into the possibility of allowing Negros province to transfer energy to its neighboring province of Cebu, which desperately needs energy.

Rep. Julieta Cortuna (Party-list, A-TEACHER) asked the DOE to fast-track the electrification of barangays and sitios, especially those in the island-provinces.

She expressed regret that the island-provinces in the country, which are rich in tourism potential, could not be developed due to lack of energy or electricity.

Cortuna also urged the DOE to provide support for inventors of energy-producing technologies.

Rep. Vicente Veloso (3rd District, Leyte) urged the DoE to help the province of Leyte in enticing investors to contribute in energy development.

Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan) appealed to energy officials to help her district in addressing the problems of farm irrigation, high cost of electricity, and flooding, as it is the host district of San Roque Dam, the biggest dam in the world and one of the main sources of energy for the entire country. (

House panel hears DILG budget despite no-show of top officials

The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) on Thursday proceeded with the briefing on the 2018 proposed budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) despite the absence of DILG Officer-in-Charge Catalino Cuy and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Ronald dela Rosa who were both in Ozamiz City with President Duterte.

The committee proceeded with the DILG budget briefing after Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo (2nd District, Lanao del Norte) withdrew his motion to defer the agency’s budget deliberation.

Dimaporo made the motion to defer the budget deliberation in the absence of Cuy and Dela Rosa who were expected to lead the defense of the DILG proposed budget of P170.733 billion which is 15 percent higher than the 2017 budget of P148.037 billion.

He said he has issues and concerns that only the DILG OIC, PNP Chief and other officials can answer.

But Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said they should proceed with the briefing instead and he assured Dimaporo that he would make the officials of the DILG and PNP go to his office (Fariñas) so that Dimaporo could have a dialogue with them otherwise “we will not take up their budget at all.”

“The budget proceedings have different stages and today is only a briefing. We still have the pre-plenary and plenary. Besides, this is the only department that is scheduled for today,” Fariñas said.

He said if the committee does not give the DILG the opportunity to present its budget proposal, then it would be such a waste. “Sayang naman ang panahon nila. Mag-briefing na lang sila. Let’s go on with the briefing and then other questions can be reserved at the plenary stage,” said Fariñas.

Likewise, Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya), vice chair of the panel and who presided over the briefing, assured members of the panel they will not push through with the pre-plenary conference if the DILG officials as well as the PNP chief and other PNP officials will not eventually show up.

About 81 percent of the DILG proposed budget or P137.917 billion will be allotted for personnel services (PS), 15 percent or about P25.537 billion for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and about four percent or P7.278 billion for capital outlays (CO).

Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City) asked the PNP if the list of its needed equipment, which was submitted to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, was included in the proposed budget.

Lobregat explained that when Speaker Alvarez went to Zamboanag City last April 18, he had a security briefing with Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command Chief Carlito Galvez, Jr. and that  PNP Regional Director Billy Beltran was also present.

Lobregat said after the briefing, Speaker Alvarez said, “talagang kailangan ninyo ang tulong. So ibigay sa akin through Congressman Lobregat yung listahan na kailangan ninyo to combat the rebels and terrorists.” He said in the area there are four types of threats: the Maute, the Abu Sayyaf, the rogue elements of the MILF, the NPA and the private armies.

Lobregat said he was tasked by the Speaker to check if what was requested was included in the budget proposal.

“The Speaker committed that he will help and will ensure that the list is included in the budget,” he said.

Lobregat said he went to the Speaker to tell him that the list was not included in the proposed budget and the Speaker asked why.

The PNP said the list was not included as the deadline for the budget proposal was last March 31.

Committee scrutinizes DOE 2018 budget


The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) on Thursday deliberated on the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its attached agencies which include the National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), and National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).

Energy officials led by Secretary Alfonso Cusi requested a budget of P2,659,253,000, which is five percent  or P1.33 million higher than the DOE’s current 2017 allocation of P2,657,918,000.

In his opening statement during the hearing presided by committee vice chairman Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City), Cusi said the DOE’s budget will be used in delivering services to the Filipino people and in carrying out its mandate as provided by various laws such as the DOE Act, Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EOIRA), Renewable Energy Law, Oil Deregulation Law, and Oil Exploration and Development Act.

“Our budget is a reflection of the energy sector’s alignment with the (Duterte) administration’s call for inclusive growth under ‘Ambisyon Natin 2040,” Cusi said.

“We look forward to your support in providing much needed resources in ensuring a resilient energy sector which empowers the Filipino through relevant information under our ‘E-Power Mo: E-Safety Mo, E-Secure Mo,  E-Diskarte Mo’ campaign,” Cusi said.

In his presentation, Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the DOE’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 will be used to fund operations amounting to P1.87 billion, support for operations at P449 million, and general administration and support at P392 million.

He said the DOE’s legislative agenda and policy advocacies will focus on the amendment of retail rules for liquid fuels, passage of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas  bill, and joint administrative order for the distribution and transportation of LPG cylinders, among others.

House members took turns raising various national and local issues and concerns that fall under the jurisdiction of the DOE.

Rep. Tom Villarin (Party-list, AKBAYAN) raised the issue of the country’s ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, an international treaty designed to protect people’s health and the environment from the dreadful effect of mercury, of which the country is a signatory.

He appealed to Cusi to expedite the DOE’s concurrence to the convention so the Philippines can complete its adherence to the said treaty, which has already been ratified by at least 50 countries.

Villarin also highlighted the issue of the promotion of renewable energy, particularly the households taking the lead role in the installation of solar rooftop panels.

“Mobilizing household-based participation for renewable energy can help reduce the cost of electricity in the country,” Villarin stressed.

Rep. Rosanna Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija) expressed dismay over the small budget of the DOE, saying it is a disservice to the country.

She said the DOE should have a bigger budget.

On another note, she suggested to the DOE to categorize energy-generating plants, like hydro, bunker, and others, and provide ceiling in their cost  to ensure that no one among these power plants make huge amount of money at the expense of the consumers.

She asked the agency to further study her proposal.

Rep. Harry Roque (Party-list, AKBAYAN) raised the issue on the entitlement of the province of Palawan on the revenues derived from Malampaya funds.

He sought clarification from energy officials on the Commission on Audit (COA) report that P25 billion of the Malampaya fund remains unaccounted for.

Roque expressed concern that when and if there is a final judgment or compromise agreement on the Malampaya fund case, there will no more be fund available.

DOE officials responded that the agency has already been cleared by COA on the said P25 billion report and that the money has been accounted for.

Roque also cited the amount of energy being produced by sugarcane-producing facilities in Negros Occidental, and asked the DOE to look into the possibility of allowing Negros province to transfer energy to its neighboring province of Cebu, which desperately needs energy.

Rep. Julieta Cortuna (Party-list, A-TEACHER) asked the DOE to fast-track the electrification of barangays and sitios, especially those in the island-provinces.

           She expressed regret that the island provinces in the country, which are rich in tourism potential, could not be developed due to lack of energy or electricity.

           Cortuna also urged the DOE to provide support for inventors of energy-producing technologies.

           Rep. Vicente Veloso (3rd District, Leyte) urged the DoE to help the province of Leyte in enticing investors to contribute in energy development.

           Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan) appealed to energy officials to help her district in addressing the problems of farm irrigation, high cost of electricity, and flooding, as it is the host district of San Roque Dam, the biggest dam in the world and one of the main sources of energy for the entire country.
GENUINE AGRARIAN REFORM--House committee on agrarian reform chair Rep. Rene Relampagos of the First District of Bohol (upper left photo) presides the deliberation on House Bill 555 authored by Rep. Ariel "Ka Ayik" Casilao seeking to provide a true agrarian reform geared towards free land distribution among qualified beneficiaries. The committee also discussed House Bill 5652 filed by Rep. Roger Mercado seeking to transfer the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office in Sogod, Southern Leyte  to Maasin City. Others present during the meeting were Reps. Sarah Jane Elago (Partylist, KABATAAN), Wilter Wee Palma II(1st District, Zamboanga Sibugay), Anna Katrina Enverga (1st District, Quezon) and Arnolfo Teves, Jr. (3rd District, Negros Oriental).
LAGUNA LAKE DIKE PROJECT--The House special committee on Southern Tagalog development chaired by Rep. Isidro Rodriguez Jr. deliberated on House Resolutions 19 and 29 filed by Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, respectively. Both Resolutions urged the committee, together with the committees on ecology, human rights, aquaculture and fisheries resources, and natural resources, to conduct an inquiry on the Laguna Lake Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP) to determine whether the project is beneficial or detrimental to the interest of the Filipino people, and its socio-economic impact on the lives of fisher folk and urban poor communities living near the Laguna de Bay area. Former Rep. Fernando Hicap, national chairman of PAMALAKAYA-PILIPINAS, said the dike project will continue to affect the livelihood of and displace resident fisherfolk. What is needed is rehabilitation, he said.  Also present during the hearing were Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, author of HR 19, Joaquin M. Chipeco Jr., Arlene Arcillas, Rico Geron, and Strike Revilla.

Evardone urges PNA to weed out incompetents 

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone today said editors responsible for the blunders at state-run Philippine News Agency should be dismissed for proving themselves unfit for the job of disseminating reliable news to the public.

PNA, an agency under the Presidential Communications Operations Office, is the government’s web-based newswire service.

“Communications Secretary Martin Andanar should fire the editors responsible for the erroneous news posted by the PNA if only to serve notice that this pattern of embarrassment is not tolerated,” said Evardone.

Last August 11, PNA issued an erratum for using the logo of food company Dole Philippines, instead of that of the Department of Labor and Employment, for its story “DOLE issues pay rules for 2018 holidays” that was posted on the same day.

The PNA management apologized for what it called “a careless act of the PNA editorial staff” with an assurance that steps have been taken to guard against similar mistakes in the future.

Earlier, PNA also drew fire for posting China’s Xinhua News Agency’s opinion piece against the arbitration ruling on the West Philippine Sea, and a story titled “95 nations in 3rd UPR convinced no EJKs in PHL" as well as for using a Vietnam War photo together with a story on the armed conflict in Marawi City.

“Bear in mind that PNA, being the government’s news website, should provide accurate information to the public. Whatever it posts reflects on the government,” Evardone said.

ADDITIONAL PERKS FOR MILITARY AND OTHER ARMED GOV’T PERSONNEL SOUGHT IN CONGRESS

Support for our men in uniform, in particular those in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has reached flood and tsunami levels. The sympathy and empathy comes from various strata and sectors of Filipino society.

Tip of the iceberg was the recent spontaneous offering by some helpful airline passengers of their extra or unused baggage allowance for servicemen who learned they had exceeded their baggage allowance as they were checking in for their flights. This was quickly followed by some airlines taking the cue from their Samaritan flyers and officially offering extra baggage allowance for soldiers on their aircrafts’ passenger flights.

Donations for soldiers fighting in Marawi City have amounted to millions of pesos and more donors are still lining up.

To seize the opportunity presented by these waves of support for our men in uniform who lay their lives on the line to defend and serve the Filipino people, I am proposing the institutionalization of the National System for Armed Services Stakeholders Support, Alliances and Partnerships Act.

The bill also proposes a package of benefits and an availment process. The benefits are similar to most of the benefits currently available to senior citizens.
        
The armed services span the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Prisons, National Bureau of Investigation, and the reserve forces.

Institutionalizing the National System for Armed Services Stakeholder Support, Alliances and Partnerships seeks to sustain and build upon the current morale-boosting efforts of ordinary citizens, corporations, foundations, non-government organizations, civil society groups, and others. The System shall organize and implement Awards for:

1)  Exemplary Armed Services Personnel;
2)  Outstanding Institutional Partners for Armed Services Personnel Welfare;
3)  Valued Civilians Rendering Aid for the Armed Services; and
4)  High-Impact Support and Welfare Programs.

The System will administer a Trust Fund with which it shall finance benefits for the Exemplary Armed Services Personnel. The System shall also serve as a clearinghouse for donations. The System will administer a Quality Assurance Rating Mechanism to ascertain the effectiveness and impact of Armed Services Stakeholder Support, Alliances and Partnerships.


EEC substitute bill gets green light from House

The House committee on energy chaired by Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Lone District, Marinduque) today approved a draft substitute bill seeking to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation, enhance the efficient use of energy, and grant incentives to EEC projects.

The unnumbered bill substituted House Bills 182, 812, 970, 1220, 1527, 2388, 2540 and  3040 authored by Reps. Eric Olivarez, Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, AKO Bicol), Yedda Marie Romualdez (1st District, Leyte), Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Henedina Abad (Lone District, Batanes), Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Paranaque), and Harry Roque Jr. (Party-list, Kabayan), respectively.

Velasco said the approval of the bill was a welcome development, saying if people will push for ECC, most of the end-users would lessen their use of power which would eventually mean more available power for other sectors in the country.

“The committee on energy is very happy for the passage of the bill mainly because we believe the ECC will help a lot in addressing the power problems in the country,” said Velasco.

He said a similar bill in the upper chamber providing for fiscal incentives for ECC has already gone through the Senate committee on energy and committee on ways and means. “When the bill passes third reading here in Congress,  then most probably if there are differences in the House and Senate bills, then there will be a bicameral conference committee that will harmonize the said bills, he said.

Senate Bill 1531 titled “Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act of 2017”substituted SB 30 filed by Sen. Loren Legarda and SB 525 by Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.

“Hopefully if the EEC bill gets passed, we will try to push and request the President to sign it and enact it into law,” said Velasco.

He said the most contentious provision of the substitute House bill is the grant of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. “But I think since the bill in the Senate has already hurdled the committee on ways and means, and committee on energy committee, then I’m sure said incentives would also pass in the House,” said Velasco.

During the hearing, the committee approved the proposal of Department of Energy Director Patrick Aquino to replace Sections 21 and 22 of the draft House Bill with Sections 24 and 25 of SB 1531 pertaining to incentives for ECC projects.

The adopted Section 24 of SB 1531 titled Incentives provides that: “Upon certification by the DOE, Energy Efficient Projects as defined in the Act shall be included in the annual investment priorities plan of the Board of Investments (BOI) and shall be entitled to the incentives provided under Executive Order 266 or the Omnibus Investment Code of the Philippines and any other applicable laws.”

Section 25 titled Non-Fiscal Incentives provides that: “Establishments that will implement or are implementing energy-efficient projects shall be entitled to the following:

a)   Provision of awards and recognition for energy efficiency and conservation best practices innovation, and successful energy-efficient projects and products; and

b)    Provision of technical assistance from government agencies in the development and promotion of energy-efficient technologies.”

Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), head of the technical working group (TWG) which drafted the substitute bill, said the measure seeks to: (1) encourage the efficient use of energy and other modalities of demand side management; (2) ensure that energy is produced and utilized in a manner that will promote sustainable development to support the government’s goal of spurring economic activity and growth; and (3) promote judicious conservation and efficient utilization of energy resources and minimize their negative impact on the environment.

“In the pursuit of the foregoing objectives, it is imperative through that an enabling mechanism be established for both the government and private sectors to work together, which is also covered by the substitute bill,” said Umali.

Umali, chairman of the committee on justice, said lawmakers are optimistic that with the staunch support and relentless advocacy of partners in both the government and the private sectors, the country will be able to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation as a national way of life.

“May our efforts towards the efficient and judicious utilization of energy never waver. Let us remain energetic and cooperative in formulating, developing, and implementing energy efficiency and conservation plans and programs to secure stability and sufficiency of energy supply in the country and cushion the impact of the high price of imported fuels on local markets. Always remember that we are all doing this to conserve our environment and to support the attainment of the socio-economic development goals of the government for the benefit of the Filipino people,”said Umali.

During the second TWG meeting held last May 18, 2017, Umali said repsentatives from the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Commission on Audit (COA), Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance, Inc. (PE2) discussed the disagreeing provisions on the bill, particularly on the following:

1.     The creation of an advisory council (which was replaced by the an Inter-agency Committee as proposed by Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga);

2.     The “off-the-balance sheet procurement” of energy efficient programs/projects, which is said to be prohibited under the procurement law;

3.     The joint position/comments of the DBM and COA; and

4.     The certification from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) as regards the P150 million energy efficiency trust fund that the DOE proposed to get from the Malampaya fund as initial fund.

On July 19, 2017, he said the TWG convened again to come up with a consensus position on certain provisions of the EEC measure and finalize the substitute bill on the EEC.


House scrutinizes 2018 DOH budget for drug rehab centers & fight vs. viruses

The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1stDistrict, Davao City) on Monday scrutinized the proposed budget of the Department of Health (DOH) for next year in the amount of P103.6 billion, representing a nine percent increase from this year’s funding of P95.27 billion.

ENERGY BILL PASSED--The House committee on energy chaired by Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Lone District, Marinduque) in a hearing Monday approved a draft substitute bill seeking to institutionalize energy efficiency and conservation (EEC), enhance the efficient use of energy, and grant incentives to EEC projects.Rep. Reynaldo Umali (2nd District, Oriental Mindoro), head of the technical working group (TWG) which drafted the measure, said the bill aims to promote judicious conservation and efficient utilization of energy resources and minimize their negative impact to the environment.

DOH 2018 BUDGET IN FOCUS -- The House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City) scrutinized the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Health (DOH) amounting to P103.6 billion which is a nine percent increase from this year's funding of P95.27 billion. Nograles and other House Members asked Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial to explain how the 2017 allocation for the construction of drug rehabilitation centers in various parts of the country was spent. They also asked for an inventory of drug treatment facilities that were donated by the private sector.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

20170807 News Releases

1. Nograles backs Php14-B fund for new soldiers, cops, firefighters, jail guards

House Appropriations Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles today said his panel would seriously consider the President's request for additional soldiers, policemen, firefighters and jail guards which would require at least Php14 Billion in funds.

Nograles said that part of the amount was already incorporated in the 2018 P3.767-Trillion national expenditure program, distributed among the various uniformed services.

"It is safe to say that that out of the computed requirement, P4-Billion is already specifically provided in the proposed 2018 budget," Nograles assured.

If approved without any amendment, Nograles said that this would allow the Philippine National Police (PNP) to hire 10,000 additional policemen,  2,000 additional personnel for the Bureau of Fire Protection, and 1,000 jail guards for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

"As to the additional soldiers, we already created in 2017 for the Philippine Army  8,892 positions, which we are currently filling up," Nograles added.

Apart from the salaries of the additional uniformed personnel, the Php14 Billion will also cover funding for uniforms, firearms, rifles, ammunition, gears, training and other expenses needed for the new recruits.

"For salaries alone, the total basic pay for the creation of 10,000 police officer PO1 positions will entail around P1.78 billion. The creation of 20,000 soldiers may cost a total basic pay amounting to around P3.56 Billion," Nograles explained.

Nograles noted that President Duterte's request for thousands of new uniformed personnel is cognizant of the increasing security challenges amid threats of terrorism and other forms of lawlessness.

"The Marawi crisis, the ongoing war against drugs and other forms of criminality that threaten the peace and security of the people are compelling reasons for us to prioritize the augmentation of our military and law enforcement personnel and the modernization of their weapons and equipment," Nograles said.

If needed, Nograles said that his committee will support the creation of new positions for uniformed personnel depending on the requirement of President Duterte.

"If there's still a need to recruit additional soldiers to beef up the ongoing anti-terrorism efforts, we will surely consider the hiring of more soldiers next year," Nograles said.

TNCs & TNVS IN FOCUS -- Representatives of Uber, Grab, UHop, Mover and other transportation network companies (TNCs) and transportation network vehicles services (TNVS) swear to tell the truth during the hearing on several proposals to regulate the operation of TNCs and TNVS in the country for public safety and welfare, reliability, and convenience. The committee on transportation approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) headed by panel chairman Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes) to harmonize House Bills 4085, 4669, 4891, 6009 and House Resolutions 403, 573. 1140 and 1151 authored by Reps. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos (Lone District, Abra), Winnie Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), Rodel Batocabe (Party-list, Ako Bicol), Jericho Jonas Nograles (Party-list, PBA), Benjamin Agarao, Jr. (4th District, Laguna), Jose Panganiban, Jr. (Party-list, ANAC IP), Michelle Antonio (Party-list, AGBIAG) and Edgar Mary Sarmiento (1st District, Samar), respectively.

MORE PAY, PERKS FOR SOLDIERS -- The House committee on national defense and security chaired by Rep. Amado Espino (5th District, Pangasinan) approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will consolidate four bills seeking to rationalize and raise the various monetary benefits for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel Brigadier General Arnel Duco cited figures on the AFP’s current quarter allowance, collateral entitlement, and longevity pay. Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Assistant Bureau Director Evelyn Peralta said that one of their proposals, per the instruction from the Office of the President (OP), is to recommend to Congress the increase in the base pay of military personnel.

  1. House merging bills on soldiers' pay, benefits hike

THE House committee on national defense and security chaired by Rep. Amado Espino (5th District, Pangasinan) approved this week the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will consolidate four bills seeking to rationalize and raise the various monetary benefits for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The measures are House Bills (HB) 429, 1490, 5532 and 5592 authored by Reps. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Harlin Neil Abayon (Party-list, AANGAT TAYO), Michael Romero and Enrico Pineda (Party-list, 1-PACMAN) and Espino, respectively.

The adjustment in the pay and benefits of AFP members would be a way of giving recognition to soldiers who risk their lives to preserve the internal security and stability of the country and defend the integrity of the national territory, according to the authors.

Arroyo said her HB 429 seeks to adjust the combat pay and the additional combat incentive pay of the members of the AFP.

“It shall allocate a monthly combat pay of P1,000 and an additional P500 per day combat incentive pay for those who are designated to engage in actual battle,” said the former President.

Meanwhile, Romero and Pineda in HB 5532 sought to increase the longevity pay of all officers and enlisted men of the AFP, and provide additional payment for their substantive duties and responsibilities.

Abayon said his HB 1490 seeks to provide for an automatic pay increase for any member of the AFP who is deployed away from his permanent station, or in the case of a member of an AFP reserve component, the member’s home of record, once the deployment period exceeds 180 days of continuous duty.

Espino, a former officer of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP), said his HB 5592 seeks to raise the quarter allowance of AFP officers and enlisted personnel.

In presiding the hearing, Espino said any legislative measure that will ensure adequate remuneration and benefits for military personnel is truly welcome.

“Looking for a bigger picture to increase and balance the allowance of our soldiers, ito ang dapat baguhin sa batas. This is an eye opener for us, kaya magtulungan tayo,” he said.

AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel Brigadier General Arnel Duco, in a powerpoint presentation, provided figures on the AFP’s current quarter allowance, collateral entitlement, and longevity pay.

For quarter allowance alone, Duco said the present rate is not adequate to support decent quarters as the current rate of house rental overwhelms the living conditions of military personnel and their families.  

 For a clearer presentation, Espino suggested to consolidate all such allowances and ensure that adequate support and incentives will eventually be given to the members of the AFP.

“Ano mas pipiliin mo, yung sundalong nagluluto sa battle field o yung officer na nasa quarter kasama ang pamilya? Kung ano man ang allowance, isama na natin lahat,” Espino said.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Assistant Bureau Director Evelyn Peralta said that one of their proposals, per the instruction from the Office of the President (OP), is to recommend to Congress the increase in the base pay of military personnel.
Asked for details, Peralta said it was the DBM Office of Compensation and Classification Bureau that drafted their proposal.

Rep. Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), a lawyer and former head of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said the proposal should be included in the law so it will have a strong legal basis.

“The moment we increase the pay, ang daming classification sa budget because of the existing law. Pwedeng ulitin dahil we know the President is a man of his word. Gagawin nya, pero wala naman sa budget. Ilagay dapat sa batas para matibay ang ating legal basis. And I would request to invite the bureau chief of the DBM in the next hearing,” explained Acop.

Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), also a retired PNP officer, expressed support for the TWG creation and requested all the resource agencies to submit their position paper to the committee.

Rep. Gary Alejano (Party-list, Magdalo), a former Marine captain, said he filed a similar measure which provides for a bigger quarter allowance of soldiers. His bill was referred to the House committee on appropriations.

He requested that his bill be instead referred to the committee on national defense and security for further deliberation.

  1. Rep Roque on the latest revelations of Costums Broker Mark Taguba

During my interpellation in today’s Committee on Dangerous Drugs hearing, I elicited information from Mr. Mark Ruben Taguba that up to ₱34,000 goes to tara or grease money in the Bureau of Customs and only ₱40,000 goes to the government in the form of taxes. This goes to show that our collections in the Bureau of Customs should double if done properly. This discovery and admission only goes to show that we do not really know how much we should really be earning by way of customs tariffs and duties. If only the correct tariffs and duties are imposed and collected, then we would not have any budget deficit.

  1. Rep Bertiz: “Negotiate with China as an ASEAN team for strength and numbers.”

Get good lawyers to ensure the rights and welfare of Overseas Filipinos in China jails

As a Member of the House committees on Foreign Affairs, Appropriations, Overseas Workers Affairs, and Defense and Security, I welcome the favorable indicators in the ASEAN Ministers’ Joint Communique.

It is my preference that our DFA adopt an ASEAN team approach and negotiate with China as a group rather than on our own. There is, indeed, strength in numbers. Our country’s issues on overseas Filipinos now in China, on drug trafficking, as well as on the environment, tourism, international trade, and investment, are shared concerns with our ASEAN neighbors.

About the delicate matter on Overseas Filipinos charged, detained, and/or serving jail sentences in China, I support the hiring of competent lawyers to guarantee that the rights of Overseas Filipinos there are protected as far as due process is concerned.

We need from DFA a complete list of every Filipino jailed and facing criminal and/or civil charges in China. We must develop a realistic action plan for each of them to ensure their welfare.

I agree that confidence-building measures will improve our relations with China and secure the rights and welfare of Overseas Filipinos detained there.

  1. Broker tags corrupt Customs men

Through intense and air tight interpellation of Deputy Speaker Castro, Broker Mark Taguba II, who facilitated the release through the Bureau of Customs of the P6.4 billion shipment of shabu, today tagged various Customs officials who allegedly received bribes from him, which include the men handpicked by Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon.

The 600 kilos of shabu shipped from Xiamen in China was coursed through the green lane of the Bureau of Customs and thus avoided any inspection.

Among those who were named by Taguba include Customs Intelligence chief Neil Estrella; Milo Maestrecampo, director of the BOC Import and Assessment Service, Deputy Commissioner Teddy Raval,  and District Collector Atty. Vincent Philip Maronilla.

Taguba also named a certain Teddy Sagaran, a certain “Jason”, “Maita” from the formal entry division of the bureau and a “Major Gutierrez”, whom the witness said is already deceased; “Jojo”, “Jake”, “Sandra”, and “Alfred”.

“You are a hero,” said Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro after Taguba made good on his promise to name names.  The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs earlier granted Taguba immunity from prosecution.

Raval denied the accusation. “I have not met Mr. Taguba prior to his meeting. I have not talked by phone or in person to Mr. Taguba”, he said. Taguba confirmed Raval’s statement, saying he is talking to a certain “Gerry” in Raval’s office.

Maronilla admitted having met Taguba before but denied receiving bribes. He said he has not authorized anyone to accept anything for the District Collector office. However, Taguba said there was a “collector” for the purpose.

Estrella admitted that while they committed lapses in the drug raid, he denied receiving any bribe money in connection with the P6.4 billion shabu.

“Napakalaking epekto po nito sa amin. Ang pakiramdam ko ho sa ngayon, ito ho ang risk ng ating profession. I will face my accuser in the proper forum.,”

For his part, Maestrecampo also denied the allegation, saying he does not know Taguba personally.

“I’m not recieveing money from anybody; I am content with my sahod. When I go back to the Customs I will step down from my post. I will subject myself to any investigation. I am probably a rebel but I’m not a thief,” he said.

However, he also said that personally he believes “this thing”, or corruption, persists in the BOC.

Likewise, Sagaran denied Taguba’s allegation, saying his record of over three decades of service to the BOC is clean. He said he met Taguba only on three occasions.

Also during the hearing, Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian today said criminal charges filed against the suspects in the smuggling of the P6.4 billion worth of shabu smuggled through the Bureau of Customs would likely be dismissed due to the improper handling of the raid that weakened the evidence.

This developed as BOC Intelligence Officer Neil Estrella admitted during the continuation of the hearing of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs that the raid on two Valenzuela warehouses where the 605 kilos of shabu was discovered was not covered by a proper warrant but only by a Letter of Authority from the BOC.

“Wala man lang kayong warrant nung pumasok kayo sa warehouse. Tingin ko po itong kaso madi-dismiss dahil napakahina ng ebidensya,” Gatchalian lamented.

He noted that to date criminal charges filed in connection with the case was only against a certain Anoche Dee, who is merely the caretaker of one of the warehouses where the illegal drug shipment was found.

More worrisome, according to Gatchalian, is that since no criminal charges have been filed to date against Richard Chen, the owner of the warehouse where the bulk of the shabu was found, he could have already fled the country.

Gatchalian noted that Chen was invited in today’s hearing but he did not show up.

“Maaring nakaalis na siya, dahil wala tayong warrant?” Gatchalian said. NBI lawyer Dennis Siyhian, who took part in the raid, admitted that such a scenario is possible.

Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas also chided the NBI and Customs for failing to file charges against Chen. Fariñas noted that since the bulk of the drugs were found in Chen’s warehouse, he has constructive possession of the drugs and should have been treated as a principal suspect under the law.

“You should have handcuffed him already,” Farinas said.

Siyhian admitted that initially he considered Chen a suspect but the Bureau of Customs told him later that Chen was the informant of the BOC.

Not only did the NBI and BOC fail to arrest Chen immediately, Fariñas said that in the NBI was even clueless about the real citizenship of Chen until now.

Meanwhile, solons also said the BOC could be liable for various offenses, including technical malversation, falsification of public documents, and usurpation of public authority in connection with BOC’s hiring of 28 athletes as technical assistants purportedly assigned for intelligence work.

Rep. Vicente Veloso noted that the athletes were hired without the public bidding required under the law. He chided Faeldon for running the BOC as if it is his own private company.

Fariñas also warned Atty. Mandy Anderson, chief of staff of Faeldon, that she could be liable for falsification of public documents and usurpation of public authority.

Anderson admitted she was authorized by Faeldon to sign the daily time record of the athletes hired by the bureau.

However, former Phil. Basketball Association stars Kenneth Duremdez, Marlo Aquino and EJ Feihl said they do not actually report to the bureau. Neither were they trained for intelligence work, according to the athletes.

Fariñas noted that the DTR is a public document and if Anderson made it appear the athletes reported for work when they did not is tantamount to falsification of public documents.

The Majority Leader also said that since Anderson is not a government official, as indicated in her contract with the BOC, she is also likely liable for usurpation of public office, since she is performing the functions of a public servant.

“But you are a young lawyer, we will not go after you,” Farinas said.

  1. Nograles calls for 'bayanihan' to ensure full implementation of free college education in SUCS

House Appropriations Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles today expressed optimism that government agencies will adopt the concept of "bayanihan" and would willingly pitch in to raise the needed fund to finance the just enacted Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law.

In an interview Monday over ANC's morning show "Headstart", Nograles said that
Congress can source funding from the various departments and agencies and state-owned institutions which have low “absorptive capacity” in the utilization of their annual budgets.

"Kumbaga, mag-bayanihan spirit tayo—instead of Congress identifying what we’re gonna slash there and take away from you in order to pool it and fund this Free Higher Education Law, then maybe you can voluntarily say, ‘Okay, I’m willing to give this up and give that up,'" he told ANC's Headstart.

Nograles explained that if a government agency has low absorptive capacity, " we can slash its budget and redirect said funds to the free tuition for higher education program.”

Nograles said that there are at least 26 departments and 110 government agencies and Government Corporations which receive subsidies from national government that can be potential sources of funds to finance the free college education program.

His panel is also looking at possible contributions from gaming agencies such as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

"We will look at the charter of these institutions if it is possible for us to tap them financial help to fund the tertiary free tuition program,” Nograles explained.

Even the budget of Congress might be tapped if needed just to be able to raise enough funds for the free college education law.

"I think that everyone can pitch in, including Congress to be able to come up with the funds needed to subsidize the tuition fees in our SUCs. We can make it happen through the concept of Bayanihan," Nograles said.

Aside from State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and Vocational Institutions (TVIs), also covered by the free tuition scheme are local government colleges and universities and, likewise, the student loan programs.

Nograles said that his panel, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)will meet Wednesday to discuss the detailed estimate on how much would be needed to fully implement the free college education law.

"What the CHED and the DBM can do is to make assumptions on how many students will be enrolling in 2018, and then calculate the cost," he said.

Based on CHED's initial estimate, Nograles said that the government would need anywhere between Php16 Billion to Php35 Billion  to fully subsidize the education of students in SUCs, Technical Vocational Institutions and Local Universities and Colleges accredited by the Commission on Higher Education.

THE HOUSE IN MOTION: Transportation committee Chairman Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento (of the Lone District of Catanduanes (left), appropriations committee chairman Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles of the 1st District of Davao City (2nd from left), and party-list Reps. Virgilio S. Lacson of Manila Teachers (2nd from right) and Ron P. Salo of Kabayan (right) from the committee on government reorganization answer reporters' questions about transportation network companies (TNCs) and transportation network vehicles services (TNVS), the funding of free tertiary education, and the rightsizing of the government in the bi-monthly press briefing jointly organized by the Office of the Speaker, and the Press and Public Affairs Bureau on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Sarmiento said the transportation committee created a technical working group to consolidate all bills pertaining to the regulation of TNCs and TNVS operation. Nograles clarified there is no pork in the 2017 and 2018 national budgets following the Supreme Court previous ruling. As to the free tertiary education in state universities and colleges (SUCs), Nograles said the appropriation may come from underspent, unutilized and underspent budgets of agencies. Lacson and Salo stressed that rightsizing does not mean retrenchment or downsizing the government.

  1. Rep Abayon: ins of the past, odds stacked against Chairman Bautista

Now that this has become such a public scandal for COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista, the odds are stacked against him. His fate now depends on how the process will unfold when the impeachment complaint is filed, if this situation gets to reach that stage.

May the rule of law and due process be our guide here at the House of Representatives. Surely, the COMELEC Chairman must be assessing the political realities now.

Could this glaring and seemingly incriminating evidence presented by no less than his lawful wife be indicative of the fruits of Chairman Bautista’s past sins?

In May 9, 2016 elections in the first District of Northern Samar where my father, Harlin Abayon was running for re-election as district representative against Liberal Party stalwart Raul Daza, the COMELEC issued a memorandum postponing the conduct of elections in Barangay Roxas, Lope Vega town due to an election-related violence. The memorandum signed by Chairman Bautista postponed the election to Saturday May 14, 2016 and ordered that it be held in Barangay Roxas, Lope De Vega. All was well when on Friday May 13, at 5PM or less than 24 hours before the conduct of special polls, the COMELEC issued another memo changing the venue of the polls causing confusion to the voters and considering that the new venue is more or less a 5-6-hour hike from the original venue since walking by foot is the only means to get there. It is my opinion that the Bautista-led COMELEC changed the venue unceremoniously to favor Daza of LP considering that Daza won by a mere 90 votes.

In spite of these, I vow to remain objective in evaluating any articles of impeachment against Chairman Bautista in case such reach the House Justice Committee of which I am a member.

BRIBE TAKERS NAMED: The House committee on dangerous drugs chaired by Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers (left) resumes investigation on the possible collusion between Bureau of Customs (BOC) personnel and illegal drug syndicates on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. The inquiry was prompted by House Resolution Nos. 1054 and 1057 authored by Barbers and Rep. Wes Gatchalian (1st District, Valenzuela City) after an estimated 604 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu” valued at P6.4 billion allegedly breezed through undetected in the express lane of Customs and is now being sold in the streets. Also present in the hearing are athletes (right photos), who were hired as intelligence agents and/or assigned at different BOC offices as revealed by Deputy Speaker Raneo E. Abu (2nd District, Batangas) during an earlier investigation conducted by the House Committee on Ways and Means. Mark Taguba (lower right photo), is the Customs broker who allegedly bribed BOC officials for the release of the shabu shipment.

  1. Lawmakers to CHR: Denounce human rights abuses committed by criminals


House members took turns decrying the way the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has been performing its role as a human rights body.

The lawmakers expressed their dismay at the CHR during the hearing on the agency’s proposed budget for 2018 which was conducted by the House committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st District, Davao City).

The CHR proposed a budget of P1.23 billion, up from this year’s budget of P749 million. However, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) slashed the CHR proposed budget to P678 million.

During the hearing, lawmakers lamented that the CHR, led by its chairman Jose Luis “Chito” Gascon, is quick to denounce alleged human rights violations committed by the law enforcement agencies, but is noticeably quiet on the human rights abuses perpetrated by criminals or terrorists.

Rep. Harry Roque (Party-list, KABAYAN) said the CHR has been very vocal about the alleged human rights violations of the current Duterte administration, but not on the human rights abuses reportedly committed during the Aquino administration.

He said that while the CHR and the mandate of promoting and protecting human rights should be apolitical, the CHR is perceived to be very political.

“They (CHR) choose only to criticize the human rights record of the current administration and they remain silent on the human rights record of the past dispensation,” said Roque, a human rights lawyer said.
 He pointed out that the CHR is perceived by the public as a political tool against the Duterte administration.

“I’m afraid that unless you (CHR) actually take steps to end impunity as far as the previous administration is concerned, it is not just the President who will perceive CHR as becoming a very political entity being used against this current administration, but the common people as well,” Roque said.

“What adds to the partisan perception of the CHR is the fact that you (Gascon) are a card-bearing member of the Liberal Party and a former Director-General of the Liberal Party,” Roque further said.

Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City) stressed that the CHR’s mandate is to promote and protect human rights, adding that the agency should denounce the violations whether they are committed by the State or not.

Lobregat noted that the CHR did not condemn the perpetrators in the Zamboanga siege, Maguindanao massacre, Mamasapano carnage, Marawi attack, beheading of soldiers, and even kidnapping.

“Everytime there is a violation of human rights perpetrated by terrorists or private armies, there is no condemnation by the CHR, unlike when there is a seemingly human rights violation committed by the agents of the State,” he said.
Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta (Party-list, 1-CARE) said the CHR’s mindset that it was created as an equalizer against a superior authority needs to be changed, as some of the enemies of the State now are more superior than the sovereign authority.

“When the State is being attacked by a group or industry, the Commission must also act upon it.”

Rep. Ariel Casilao (Party-list, ANAKPAWIS) said the CHR should be non-partisan, adding that biases and partiality should take a back seat in the interest of the people.

  1. Nograles calls on CHR to probe atrocities committed by criminals, insurgents

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta(PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles today advised the Human Rights Commission (CHR) to be non-discriminating in pursuing human rights cases to be able to truly fulfill its mandate as the protector of the people's civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Nograles said the CHR is rapidly losing public support and there is now a growing clamor for its abolition because of its perceived misplaced focus on alleged human rights violations committed by government authorities while turning a blind eye on atrocities committed by criminals and insurgents.

"Being the son of a human rights lawyer, I feel really sad that the CHR is now being regarded as protector of criminals and insurgents because of their unusual interest in pursuing only cases allegedly committed  by the evildoers," Nograles said.
 
Last Tuesday, CHR Chair Jose Luis Gascon got a mouthful from House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez during his presentation of CHR's proposed P651.9 Million budget. Alvarez even threatening to drastically cut down on their budget because of the CHR's failure to look into human rights violations perpetrated by criminals and rebel groups.

As it is now, Nograles said the CHR is perceived to become the "defender" of lawless elements and the persecutor of law enforcers.

"The embodiment of true justice is Lady Justice. She is blind-folded precisely because justice knows no color, language, political persuasion and status in life. She delivers justice based on facts and evidence regardless of who you are and what you are. The CHR should do the same," Nograles said.

"Prove the perception wrong and you will win the people's trust again," Nograles added.

  1. Party-list solon draws attention to ‘pastor hokage’ Facebook groups

Rep. Michelle Antonio of AGBIAG Party-list showed fellow legislators the dark side of the internet in today’s hearing of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality tackling sexual harassment bills.

Antonio flashed screenshots of posts from “Pastor Hokage” Facebook groups where pictures of women and children are feasted upon by thousands of members without the consent of the people shown in the picture.

She pointed out that there were several members asking specifically for pictures of minors.

Videos and photographs taken from social media of women being groped and touched in their private parts while taking public transport were likewise shown.

Explaining her decision to present these sensitive pictures and videos, Antonio said, “I don’t think my fellow legislators have an idea about the gravity of the situation. I, myself, was shocked when my staff showed these to me. Those who saw the presentation here today were visibly shocked. Understandably so, the pictures are disgusting.”

In the said hearing, Rep. Antonio delivered her sponsorship speech for House Bills 4822 and 5956.

HB 4822 seeks to expand the definition of sexual harassment to include: acts that are not only physical or verbal or nature, but also those committed using electronic devices or other means; acts that are committed even outside the place of employment, training, or education; and offensive remarks about a person’s sexual orientation.

The same bill makes anyone - including colleagues, peers and subordinates – a possible “harasser,” as opposed to the previous definition in RA 7877 where a harasser must be someone who has authority or moral ascendancy over the victim. Higher penalties are also imposed.

HB 5956, on the other hand, penalizes street, public spaces, and online harassment.

The bill has similarities to the Safe Streets and Public Spaces bill filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros, but this version covers online harassment, imposes heavier penalties, and provides for expedited grants of permanent protection orders and victim psychological counselling services.

It also provides for the creation of educational modules on the ills of street and online harassment to be provided to students from elementary up to tertiary level.

  1. Business is booming in PHL despite human rights violation claims, Marawi crisis

Business is booming in the country despite allegations of human rights violations and the ongoing Marawi crisis, House Appropriations Committee Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles today said.

In Tuesday's presentation of the Department of Trade Industry's Php6.57 Billion proposed budget, Nograles noted that the Philippines has remained a major investment magnet and posted a 16.3 percent increase in international trade from January to May this year coming from a dismal -5 percent.

With China alone, the country's bilateral trade grew by at least 62 percent.

On the other hand, the President's trip to Russia yielded an outright Russian-purchase of about $2.5-million of agricultural products from the Philippines.

Lopez said the deal would promote Philippine agricultural products while increasing farmers income and create more jobs in the rural areas.

During the hearing, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez stressed that the challenges posed by the human rights issue and the Marawi crisis did not diminish foreign business confidence as evidenced by the booming trade and economic development of the country.

“The efforts of Pres. Duterte, specially his trips abroad, opened the doors wider for foreign investors to invest in the country’s economy," Lopez told the Appropriations panel hearing, presided over by Nograles, on the proposed 2018 P3.767-trillion General Appropriations Act.

Nograles started the ball rolling by seeking clarification on the government’s programs, particularly on foreign trade and promoting the influx of foreign investments since the start of the Duterte presidency.

Sec. Lopez revealed that in the various trips abroad with the President, he had “never encountered any complaints” about the stability of the business climate in the Philippines. In fact, Lopez told the Nograles panel, the President’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao is being regarded by foreign business chambers as a necessary peacekeeping move by government, including the sustained war against illegal drugs.

Despite these challenges, Lopez said he believes that foreign investors are confident of the efforts of government to maintain a conducive business climate in the country. Furthermore, the DTI official cited the independent foreign policy being pushed by the current leadership which allowed the country to be a ”friend to all and enemy to no one.”

Nograles, reacted by saying that the President’s sustained campaign and programs to attain peace, stability and national discipline will ensure the country’s march to meaningful inclusive socio-economic development.

“The president’s unrelenting war against illegal drugs and corruption in public service, among others, will surely help heighten people’s participation in a progressive and clean governance which are among the vital ingredients to achieve real and inclusive development, ” said Nograles.

  1. Rep Alejano files bill to reinforce the AFP

Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary C. Alejano filed House Bill No. 6149 that seeks to beef up the Armed Forces of the Philippines via the recruitment and enlistment of Provisional Enlisted Personnel (PEP).

Under House Bill No. 6149, an additional 20,000 Provisional Enlisted Personnel shall be recruited by the AFP who will serve a tour of duty of 5 years.  The PEP recruits would also undergo the same training and receive the same salary as their equivalent Regular Enlisted Personnel.

According to the former Marine Captain, “This is the best solution to address the various security threats that our military needs to contend with on a daily basis. Thru this proposed legislation, we will be able to increase and strengthen the AFP without having an impact to the current pension issue that looms in the military.”

PEPs will have compulsory membership to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). The GSIS will continue to manage a new and separate pension system for PEPs who will be absorbed later on in the regular force. Current retirees and active personnel of the AFP will still be covered by the old pension system.

Just recently, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella aired the request of the President for an additional 20,000 troops as part of the country’s intensified security posture to guard areas in the country where continuing security threats persist.

A similar version of the bill was filed by the Magdalo Party-List during the 16th Congress. House Bill No. 3910 was filed during the 16th Congress but remained pending with the Committee on National Defense and Security.

  1. CSC-proposed 2018 budget approved in 10 minutes

Members of the House committee on appropriations on Tuesday approved the Civil Service Commission (CSC) proposed budget of P1.5 billion for next year after only 10 minutes of discussion.

In a hearing presided by committee vice chairman Rep. Raul del Mar (1st District, Cebu City), the committee unanimously approved to terminate the hearing on the 2018 budget proposal of the CSC without further questioning the agency’s officials.

 “I think all of us here are very supportive of your budget and we have decided, we will spare you from further questioning. So I move to terminate the budget hearing for the Civil Service Commission,” said Rep. Celso Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City), also a vice chairman of the appropriations committee.

 Lobregat’s motion was duly seconded by Rep. Raul Daza (1st District, Nothern Samar).

 The CSC proposed a budget of P1.910 billion, but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) approved only P1.505 billion which is slightly higher than year’s budget of P1.416 billion.
 
Of the P1.505 billion budget for next year, 77.1 percent or P1.161 billion shall be allotted for personnel services, 17 percent or P260.249 million for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and 5.6 percent or P83.894 million for capital outlay.

 Among the CSC programs and sub-programs for 2018 are: civil service human resource policy and information management sub-program; civil service human resource governance program; civil service professionalization and workplace cooperation program; and administrative justice program.

 Under Administrative Code of 1987 (EO 292), the CSC is constitutionally mandated to promote morale, efficiency, integrity, responsiveness, progressiveness, and courtesy in the civil service.

RE-INSTILLING DISCIPLINE--The House committee on public order and safety chaired by Rep. Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City) on Tuesday resumed its inquiry into the manifest breakdown of discipline in the Philippine National Police (PNP) in light of recent high-profile criminal incidents allegedly involving officers and members of the organization. The inquiry also aims to assess the current recruitment and training policies as well as disciplinary mechanisms in relation to the objective of re-instilling a strong sense of discipline in the PNP. The resolution is authored by Acop, Reps. Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), Ben Evardone (Lone District, Eastern Samar), Raul Tupas (5th District, Iloilo), and Gary Alejano (Party-list Magdalo). Among the PNP officers present during the hearing were PNP Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario and PNP Director for Operations Camilo Pancratius Cascolan.

  1. Rep Biazon on contemplated US drone strike on ISIS-Mauti in Marawi

There is sufficient basis for the US drone strike against ISIS-Maute Group being contemplated for authorization by the United States. The Philippines should give this serious consideration in order to gain a clear upper hand against the terrorist group which attempted to establish a stronghold in the country by attacking and trying to take over a major city in Mindanao.

The RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty in Article IV states that, "Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes."

Article V further states, "For the purpose of Article IV, an armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the Island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific."

ISIS is acknowledged as an international terrorist organization, posing a threat to safety, security, peace and order all over the world and is known to have the objective of establishing caliphates in various countries.

In the Marawi attacks, foreign terrorists believed to be ISIS fighters were confirmed by authorities to be involved, prompting certain quarters to even deem it as an invasion. Subsequently, the Duterte Administration was compelled to declare a state of Martial Law in Mindanao to counter the terrorist attack.

Since May 23, 2017 the Philippine Government has been taking military action against the ISIS-Maite Group, throwing its full might against the terrorists including its air assets through air strikes. Unfortunately, the bombing by FA-50 jets has even resulted in casualties on the side of the military due to friendly fire.

With assistance from the United States through their highly sophisticated unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) air strikes, the government will gain an even greater upper hand with the proven accuracy, stealth and deadly force of those drones.

This assistance is covered by the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), all of which have been entered into and ratified by the Philippine Government and upheld by the Supreme Court.

Terrorism has been acknowledged by international organizations such as the United Nations and ASEAN, of which the Philippines is a party to, as a global concern necessitating security and defense cooperation among nations. With this offer of the United States, it will not be out of bounds for the Philippines to accept it in the interest not only of its national security but of the international community's as well, since the establishment of an ISIS stronghold in Mindanao will also pose a threat to the entire South East Asian Region.

The fight against the terrorist Maute Group is not just a Philippine concern. With terrorism spreading its reach worldwide across borders, the threat is global and the response should be inter-national. The government should give this offer of cooperation and assistance serious consideration.

  1. Solon to FDA: Do not block of delay RH law

Why is the Food & Drug Administration slow on contraceptives certification?

Inasmuch as agency efficiency and effectiveness as to operations is within the purview of the House Committees on Appropriations and Government Reorganization both of which I am a member, I pose these questions to the Food and Drug Administration:
           
Why is the FDA holding only now, specifically on August 21, 2017, the first round of summary hearings for the certification and re-certification of all contraceptive products? How many contraceptives are being reviewed? How tedious is the process? It has been over two years since June 17, 2015 when the Supreme Court issued its TRO on contraceptives. It has been nearly one year since the SC denied the motion for reconsideration of the ruling it made on June 17, 2015.
 
I hereby serve notice to the FDA and the Department of Health, that because of the continued non-full implementation of the Reproductive Health Law, I will intensely scrutinize every detail of their respective proposed 2018 budgets as soon as it is presented to Congress on August 14.

I will not hesitate to move for the reduction to just one peso the budgets for offices and personnel within the FDA and DOH responsible for blocking or delaying the full implementation of the RH Law and for not complying with the directives of the Supreme Court.

Way back April 2014, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the RH Law, kept the core provisions of that law intact while striking down some provisions.

The delay in RH Law implementation constitutes an injustice to the Filipinos who have been denied the full benefit of the RH Law.

FDA and DOH, do not test the resolve of Congress. The RH Law is constitutional and your duty is to implement that law.

If we find reason or proof that there are offices and personnel with the FDA and DOH who refuse to perform their official duties or who are collaborating with those who continue to oppose the RH Law, we will consider all available courses of action, including dismissal from service, administrative sanctions, and criminal proceedings depending on the facts and circumstances.

  1. Nograles: No more sleepless nights for PDuterte over funding problem for free college ed

House Appropriations Chair and Davao City Congressman Karlo Nograles today said President Duterte no longer needs to worry about where to get the money that would be used to fund Republic Act 10931 also known as Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

"Makakatulog na ng mahimbing ang ating Pangulong Duterte. Together with the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission of Higher Education, we have achieved a breakthrough and managed to identify at least Php16 Billion funds that would be readily available in time for the first semester enrollment next year," Nograles said.

This breakthrough came Wednesday after Nograles met with DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno, CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan and other CHED Commissioners and TESDA Secretary General Guiling Mamondiong and agreed that the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act is President Duterte's greatest gift to the Filipino youth.

Nograles said that this Php16 Billion fund would come from various scholarships in various departments that can be pooled together and consolidated for the full implementation of the law. The various scholarships can be found in different State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), CHED, the Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

This does not even include additional funds that may be carved out of underperforming and under-spending agencies, if needed.

"We will be consolidating all scholarship funds and spending them according to RA 10931 since this is the latest law that supersedes all other laws, and this law takes into consideration scholarships in SUCs, LUCs, TVIs and even private colleges and universities," Nograles explained.

Nograles estimates that the Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) of the free college education law will be finished within 15 days.

Nograles said that it was agreed during the meeting that CHED and TESDA must come up with an accurate figure on the number of students who would benefit from the free higher education law so that his panel can figure out how much is really needed to ensure its full implementation.

"We still need to come up with the total number of students who will benefit from this law, taking into account that for college next school year, there will be many seniors and freshmen coming in but fewer sophomores and juniors because of the K-12 program. This final number will determine magkano ba talaga kelangan. Is P16B enough or not?" Nograles said.

Nograles pointed out that the students who will benefit from the law will be coming from 114 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), 16 Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) accredited by CHED and 122 Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) under TESDA.

"What's important right now is we know we have Php16 Billion and we have a source for this. If the required funding is over Php 16 Billion, that's when we will consider sourcing from departments and agencies that are underspending or underperforming agencies," Nograles said.


17. Nograles sees 3 agencies for possible budget cuts to fund free college education law

House Appropriations Chair and Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles today said his panel has initially identified three government agencies which may get budget cuts due to low absorptive capacity and sluggish implementation of projects and programs.

According to Nograles, on top of possible reduction of their proposed budget for 2018,  these three agencies can potentially contribute at least Php 37.5 Billion which can act as a standby fund once the free college education program is fully implemented in 114 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), 16 Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) accredited by CHED and 122 Technical-Vocational Institutions (TVIs) under TESDA.  
    
Nograles noted that during the budget briefing of the Department of  Information and Communications Technology (DICT), he found out that the agency has P2.7 Billion of unused appropriations in 2016 and P2.695 Billion in unused appropriations in 2017.

"These funds will expire in December 31, 2017 and I doubt very much if DICT will be able to utilize these funds before the year ends. So instead of wasting these funds I would rather use the money to support the higher education law for free tuition and miscellaneous fees for students in SUCs, LUCs, TVIs," Nograles said.

Nograles said that an additional Php 5 Billion can be sourced from the  Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Php 30 Billion from the Department of Transportatin (DOTr).

"Another department with low utilization rate is the Department of Agrarian Reform that failed to utilize P6 Billion in 2015, and failed to obligate P5 Billion in 2016. The Department of Transportation, on the other hand, failed to utilize P33 Billion in 2015, and again in 2016 they have so far failed to obligate P30 Billion of their budget allocation," Nograles said.

Nograles stressed however that since some of the unused allocations were programmed under the 2015 appropriations, the funds have already expired and were reverted to the national treasury.

The unused funds for the 2016 appropriations, on the other hand, will expire in December of this year. While it cannot be tapped for the 2018 national expenditure program, it can be programmed for spending under a supplemental budget.

"The 2016 funds are still alive and set to expire on December 31, 2017. At this point in time I am very doubtful they will be able to utilize those funds. So I am looking at considering these funds as savings and writing a supplemental budget to use as standby fund for the free higher education law," Nograles said.

Nograles said that on the basis of the spending pattern of  DICT, DAR and DOTr, his panel considers them as top candidates for possible budget cuts in their proposed 2018 budget without compromising President Duterte's "Build Build Build" program.

The DICT has submitted a Php 6.87 Billion budget request for 2018. The DOTr is asking P73.8 Billion while the Department of Agrarian reform is seeking Php10.3 Billion.

"Based on their spending pattern, we now know where to make the cuts. At least for now, we have a standby source of at least P37.5 Billion which can be made available through supplemental budget in case we still fall short of the needed funds to support the free college education law," Nograles said.



SPEAKER THANKS HARDWORKING COLLEAGUES -- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez thanks a colleague for continuously working hard to pass vital socio-economic bills that will benefit the people during a plenary session on Wednesday.

Fellow legislators approved on third and final reading six important measures as follows: House Bill (HB) 5811 or An Act Providing for a Magna Carta of the Poor; HB 691 or The Public Land Act; HB 5750 or The Comprehensive Firearms And Ammunition Regulation Act; HB 5792 or An Act Institutionalizing the Balik Scientist Program and Appropriating Funds Therefor; HB 5799 or an An Act Reverting Fish Ponds Which Have Been Unutilized Or Abandoned For A Period Of Three Years To Forest Lands, Amending For The Purpose Section 43 Of Presidential Decree No.705 otherwise known as The Revised Forestry Reform Code of The Philippines; HB 5818 or An Act Regulating the Practice of Employers In Posting Notices of Termination of Employment of Former Employees In Newspapers, Social Media, And Other Public Information Venues; and HB 5903 or An Act Creating Three Additional Branches Of The Regional Trial Court In The Province Of Laguna To Be Stationed In Calamba City, Amending For The Purpose Section 14(E) Of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as The Judiciary Reorganization Act Of 1980, As Amended, And Appropriating Funds Therefor.

House members also elected Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan) as Deputy Speaker for Central Luzon; Rep. Ana Cristina Siquian Go  (2nd District, Isabela) as chairperson of the committee on foreign affairs; and Rep. Mario Vittorio Mariño (5th District, Batangas) as chairperson of the committee on civil service and professional regulation.

The plenary session was presided by Deputy Speaker Mylene Garcia-Albano.

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  1. Nograles backs Php14-B fund for new soldiers, cops, firefighters, jail guards
TNCs & TNVS in focus
More pay, perks for soldiers
  1. House merging bills on soldiers' pay, benefits hike
  2. Rep Roque on the latest revelations of Costums Broker Mark Taguba
  3. Rep Bertiz: “Negotiate with China as an ASEAN team for strength and numbers.”
  4. Broker tags corrupt Customs men
  5. Nograles calls for 'bayanihan' to ensure full implementation of free college education in SUCS
The House in motion
  1. Rep Abayon: ins of the past, odds stacked against Chairman BautistaBribe takers named  
    8. Lawmakers to CHR: Denounce human rights abuses committed by criminals 
    9. Nograles calls on CHR to probe atrocities committed by criminals, insurgents 
    10. Party-list solon draws attention to ‘pastor hokage’ Facebook groups 
    11. Business is booming in PHL despite human rights violation claims, Marawi crisis 
    12. Rep Alejano files bill to reinforce the AFP 
    13. CSC-proposed 2018 budget approved in 10 minutes 
    Re-instilling discipline
  1. Rep Biazon on contemplated US drone strike on ISIS-Mauti in Marawi
  2. Solon to FDA: Do not block of delay RH law
  3. Nograles: No more sleepless nights for PDuterte over funding problem for free college ed
  4. Nograles sees 3 agencies for possible budget cuts to fund free college education law

    18. Speaker thanks hardworking colleagues
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Greetings: Dennis and Joanna, Cecille Figueroa, Eloisa Lomeda, Cora Badajos, Beth Bermoy, Glorina, Janice, Lala, Gloria, Nenit Navarro, Pearl Perlita, Suzette, Tita Plaza, Amy Cuares And All Batch 72 Members, Ray Mordeno, Oscar Cadenas, Nengneng Montero, Edmund, Edith, Ehm, Orland, Myra, Willie and all the Lumons from Jabonga, ADN; those who are listening to this program via Live Streaming sa internet wwwdotdwdddotcomdotph, sa Facebook wwwdotfacebookdotcom @dwdd1134 at sa Twitter #Katropa; and everybody. Bago nga pala ako mamamaalam dito sa programa, nais ko nga palang magbigay ng announcement: Sa August 19 at 20, 2017, magdaraos, sa unang pagkakaton, ang Mordeno Clan sa Buong Mundo, Ng Reunion na gaganapin sa Jabonga Agusan Del Norte. Mananawagan na rin tuloy ako sa lahat na may apilyedong Mordeno at may dugong Mordeno na kayo po ay inaanyayahan ng Mordeno Clan na dumalo sa nasabing reunion. Maraming salamat.
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